Monday, June 28, 2010

Look at Me!

Hey Everybody!

This is Connor. Mommy doesn't know I'm on her blog. She thinks I'm in my crib sucking my thumb. But I'm not. I'm typing my little heart out while Mommy cleans my highchair. It turns out I don't like corn casserole as much as she thought.

So, here's the deal. I just turned 10 months old and I'm pretty proud of myself. It's been a really productive month. The best one so far. Here's what I've been up to.

I can pull up all by myself. That makes me really happy. Mommy keeps crying when I learn to do new things. She mumbles words like "my baby" and "I can't believe he's growing up so fast". I don't get it.

This is a picture of me pulling up on my absolute favorite toy. It plays lots of music and it even speaks in Spanish. I think this toy is called A Nnoying. At least that's what Mommy and Daddy call it when I bang on it really loudly and the spanish guy inside says "Hola" about a billion times.

My absolute favorite thing about being able to pull up on stuff is that now I can reach the toy box in our den. I love to steal my sister's pocketbook and then laugh at her. What you can't see in this picture is that she is beside me crying a ton because I refuse to let go of her purse. It's awesome.

This month, I perfected the art of the Army Crawl. I can get places really, really fast. In this picture, I'm crawling so fast to A Nnoying that it's blurry. Now, that's fast! Other places I like to crawl to include whichever potty my mommy is using, anyplace that has a lamp or cord, places with dead bugs, and rooms with trashcans that can easily be turned over.

My teeth decided to make an appearance this month. And I'm a huge fan of showing them off. Can you see them? There are 2 on the bottom and 1 on the top.

I'm happy that I finally got some teeth. But did you know it hurts like crazy when they grow in? I've been crying more lately. Mommy says I cry as much as a normal baby now instead of the "too good to be true" baby I usually am. Even when I cry, I'm still smiling. I know. I'm ridiculously adorable.

And now, for the ABSOLUTE BEST, COOLEST, BIG BOY thing about being ten months old!!!!!! Drum roll, please.........
I am officially big enough to start flipping with Daddy! No more sitting on the sidelines for me. I mean business! Watch out Landon and Reagan, flips are no longer just for the two of you. Now that my acid reflux issues have subsided and my neck muscles are as strong as an ox, I have entered flip world! Bring. It. On.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Beach Trip!!!

Last week, our family of 5 went to the beach with my parents, my brother, and our family friend (one of my flower girls!), Parker. My grandparents own a beach house in Surfside so, fortunately, we get to go several weeks/weekends a year, which is such a blessing!

This trip was Connor's first time visiting the ocean. The last time we took the kids, it was Thanksgiving and too chilly to head to the waves. Connor absolutely hated it. The sand, the water, everything. Day 1 he sobbed. Day 2 he sobbed. Day 3 he sobbed. Day 4 he grabbed my arm tightly the whole time.

Day 5 he sat on the sand by himself. Then he discovered that he loved the taste of sand and that made his day.

When we arrived on the beach the first day, Landon said, "Here we are! Life is perfect!" He loved riding the waves with Nathan, Uncle Kevin, and Parker.

The most exciting part of our trip was when Landon learned to swim! I intended to teach him to swim last year but I weighed about a billion pounds and was completely miserable, so swim lessons took a back seat. We were pleasantly surprised this year when, after about 30 seconds of Nathan giving him a few pointers, he began swimming!

Couple Landon learning to swim with being taller than 42 inches and that meant a trip to the Water Park! He had a ball. Landon is fearless just like his daddy which brings my heart so much joy. I love that he'll try almost anything. Even the Dark Hole. That's my boy!

And then there's my girl. My sweet, smiling, hilarious, girly girl. Her favorite part of each day was putting on her bathingsuit, going to the beach or pool, and talking. She is outgoing. Not a shy bone in her body. And she's very sensitive to others. She made a friend everyday wherever we went. She loved on babies. She spoke with mommies. She helped strangers dig holes. She played happily with other little girls.

No trip for us is complete without a visit to Broadway at the Beach for burgers at Johnny Rockets and rides!

We took the kids to Warbird Park one evening. Landon was enthralled by the huge planes!

Gammy loved on her grandbabies all week long! (Papa was there, too, but I didn't get any pictures of him....Sorry, Dad!)

Uncle Kevin got his wrestle on with Landon. Reagan was pretending to be Sleeping Beauty, hoping that her prince would kiss her, soon! But then I think she also played dead at some point.

It was a wonderful trip. We got really, really spoiled by having Nathan with us for a whole straight week. The kids and I were not pleased when he left for work Monday morning. 7:00am is our least favorite time of each day b/c that's when we have to tell Daddy goodbye. But I like electricity and food and stuff like that so I'm cool with it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I cleaned out my pantry today.

If you invite me to a party, I'm so gonna be in charge of bringing the cups.

What's Grosser Than Gross?

1. When a lizard crawls across your foot while you're checking your email. Inside your kitchen.

2. When you find a lizard's tail in your dining room 5 days after your son caught the lizard.

3. When you watch a slug crawl up your pretty blue walls.

4. When your 9-month-old throws up and a spider comes out.

5. When you hear your 5 year old say, "Oh, no. Yuck." And then you see your 9-month-old covered in head-to-toe poop.

6. When you lift up a seat in your car and look under it. The one you haven't lifted since you bought the car. The one your children have sat in, eaten in, played in, and probably thrown up in.

7. When your child says, "Mommy, there's a booger on my face. Oh, wait. Now it's in my mouth. Yum."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaching Kids

I'm often asked what I'm "for": public school, private school, or homeschooling. I think it's because I was a public school teacher for 6 years, I attend a church that houses a private school, and I have about a billion friends who homeschool.

I am for teaching and learning. That's it. Wherever that happens is cool with me.

I've seen meaningful, purposeful teaching happen in public schools and I've also seen some really thoughtless, program-driven instruction happen in public schools.

I've heard teachers in private schools speak highly of children and I've heard teachers in private schools call children "stupid" and say, "You can't read."

I've seen parents teach up a storm in their homes, utilizing their knowledge of their child to inform instruction, and I've also seen some of the most pathetic videos ever created shown in a homeschool setting while the child was literally bored to tears.

For various reasons, I chose to teach in a public school setting but that doesn't mean I think public school offers the highest quality education.

I think knowledgeable teachers, who like kids, who know about reading process, and who make thoughtful decisions about the learners in their care offer the highest quality education.

I think programs are awful. Terrible. I think curriculum created with zero regard for the individual learner is pathetic. Imagining a teacher or parent ordering a curriculum online and doing exactly what it says each day makes me want to throw up.

But teachers and parents that make important decisions based on the needs of their kids is effective and powerful.

I am for teaching and learning.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I have a hope.

10:30 worship service at our church

Pastor Donnie: Raise your hand if you have a hope this morning!

Congregation raises their hands. Landon raises his hand really high.

Pastor Donnie: I pray all of you have a hope!

Landon turns to Nathan.

Landon: I hope that one day I can be Spiderman!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day...

To my man, the best gladiatin', gun shootin', wrestlin' daddy on the planet.

To my father-in-law, an amazing dad to my hubby and loving grandfather to NINE grandchildren.

To my dad, one of the most fun fathers and grandfathers there has ever been.

To my grandfather, PaPa, the coolest 80-year-old ever.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm thankful for....

1. Evelyn Jane "Evie" Couch who is one strong little baby! She is recovering wonderfully. Please continue to pray for her. She has a long road ahead. Praise God for all He is doing in her life!

2. The beach. Myrtle Beach. I know many people prefer quieter beaches but not me. I think Myrtle Beach is absolutely perfect just the way it is.

3. Landon learning how to swim in about 30 seconds. He's awesome.

4. Connor's sweet toes. He thinks sand, the ocean, and the pool are terrible ideas and when his feet get close to touching any of it, he curls his toes up so that no part of his body has to deal with the salt, sand, and chlorine.

5. Reagan's pigtails. Her 3 years of life have finally produced hair kind of long enough to do something with.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Evie is out of surgery.

Dr.Bradley said the surgery went technically well but he does not consider it success until 24 hours have passed. There were some problems with Evie's blood pressure but now she is stable. She will have an EKG at 2:30. Please pray for a good report from that. The next 24 hours are extremely important. Please pray hard.

Also, please continue to pray for Heather's recovery. She had a c-section and that's painful by itself. I can only imagine the logistics of how often she's having to get up, bend over, sit in a waiting room, pump, etc.

Evie is in surgery.

Evie is currently in surgery. It will last approximately 6 hours. Please pray for this baby girl, her parents, her surgeon (Dr.Bradley), and her entire family.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


What woman makes her 30-year-old husband pose by himself in a picture while wearing the biggest birthday button known to man? Me. Why? Because I love him. And also because I'm older than him and now that he's in his thirties like me, I'm STOKED.

For Nathan's birthday, I surprised him and planned a trip to Colorado with two of our dearest friends, Eric and Megan Soong. Eric and Nathan turned 30 within two weeks of each other. Megan and I have been scheming for the past year and we pulled off the biggest surprise this side of the Mississippi. Eric and Nathan were roommates throughout college and it was great to see the looks on their faces when Megan and I gave them their gift. Our trip will be in January so we have several months to get excited! We can't wait!

You're the man. I love the way you love, guide, and take care of our family. You're hilarious. You're a faithful friend to everyone you know. You have a great smile. You're super wise and logical. You love Jesus big time. You work really hard and you do your job with excellence. You are an incredible dad to our kids. I love that you love every single thing I cook. You're laid back and easygoing. You teach me every day to not sweat the small stuff. You're constantly constant. I love you all the way! Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Evie Update

Beautiful Evie will have heart surgery Friday morning. Please pray hard for her surgeon and everyone that will be assisting during the surgery. Please continue to pray for Heather and Kevin. Nathan and I saw them last night. It made my heart smile big time to be able to hug my best friend. God has given Heather and Kevin so much strength and wisdom. I'll keep you updated.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Evie is here!

Evelyn Jane "Evie" Couch was born at 8:50 this morning. She weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz. She is in PCICU and is doing well. Heather just called me. She sounds great. She's gotten a lot of rest today. She was not able to hold Evie but is looking forward to being able to see her soon. Evie is absolutely gorgeous. She has a head full of dark hair and I think she looks like Katie Hays, her older sister. The c-section went beautifully. There were no additional complications during delivery. I will keep you updated when I hear more about the upcoming heart surgery that will happen in a few days. Nathan and I are heading to Charleston tomorrow so I should find out more when I see them. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to lift up this sweet family.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Who's Yo Daddy? Here's Mine!

A long, long, long, long time ago (59 years ago to be exact), in the little town of Whitney, South Carolina, a baby boy was born. His family didn't have much and so he learned at a very young age how to work hard. His daddy drank too much which made him sad and he learned that he didn't want that for his future wife and kids. The little boy got older and kept working really hard. He was an athlete. A wrestler and a football player. In fact, he was the best wrestler in the entire state! Newberry College begged him to come to his school and so he did. One day, he saw a pretty lady practicing her piano and he ran into the room and laughed at her and that annoyed the pretty lady. But the pretty lady saw him again and decided she liked him. They got married and both became school teachers. He taught psychology and his students adored him. And, because he was such a hard worker, he decided to start his own painting business. His business grew and grew and grew. After 20 years of teaching, he decided to resign and put all his hard-working energy into his painting business. He and his wife had a beautiful daughter (that's me!!!) and a handsome son. He taught his children the value of hard work. He taught them to give sacrificially. He taught them to have a heart for widows and children in need. He was a strict daddy and sometimes he could give a look that made his children poop their pants. His children's friends were scared of him because he was a wee bit intimidating but he was also super, super, super loving and gentle. He said, "I love you" about a million times a day to his children. He gave really big hugs. His children grew up. And one day, his daughter came to him and said, "I have found someone that reminds me of you! He's giving and loving and he works hard and he loves Jesus and I want to marry him!" And so he walked his daughter down the aisle. She had three children and he became a Papa. And now he is teaching his grandchildren all the same things he taught his children. To work hard. To give sacrificially. To say "I love you".

I love you, Dad! I couldn't be more proud of the father you are to Kevin and me, the husband you are to Mom, the father-in-law you are to Nathan, the Papa you are to Landon, Reagan, and Connor, the friend you are to so many, the representative you are to Spartanburg County, and the example you are to everyone you encounter. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

a memory and the future

i blink.
180 days.

i hug those 20 learners one-by-one through blurry, wet eyes.
and in that five-second hug, i'm able to relive my year with each one.

he hated reading when he entered my class and now he can't put a book down.

her parents divorced this year and she made it. it was hard. but she made it.

he was hospitalized three times because of that dumb cystic fibrosis, but amazingly, each time he came out stronger and smiley-er.

she finally tried the country style steak. hated every bite of it. but tried it.

she walked into school all by herself. like a first grader. and she smiled while she did it.

her dad was in iraq all year long. that'll produce a lot of writing when you learn to write from your heart.

he came to me thinking school was about people telling you what to do, what to think, what to say, what to write, and what to read. he now knows the truth.

180 days.


yesterday was the 180th day.
not for me.
but for a lot of people.
i miss my 180-day life. i miss those hugs. those learners. those families.

and now, as i look at the three precious reasons i'm not giving those 180th day hugs, i'm reminded that i'm where i want to be.
and that one day, when the time is right, i'm going to go back.
but for now, i'm here.
and that's ok with me.

She's honest.

Landon: La la la!!! Doom dee doom!

Reagan: La la la!!! Doom dee doom!

Landon: Stop copying me!

Reagan: La la la!!! Doom dee doom!

Landon: STOP copying me!

Reagan: La la la!!! Doom dee doom!


Reagan: La la la!!! Doom dee doom!



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When life hands you a gallbladder the size of a lemon.....

Make Lemonade!

10 things I love about having surgery:

1. People bring me food. I would like to specifically mention Pastor Mike's lemonade pie and Jenn's Mexican casserole. Ridiculously awesome.

2. It reminds me to not waste money on prescription meds. They are the worst idea my body has ever experienced. It also reminds me to never spend money on Tylenol ever again. I can just take a sugar pill, instead. Seriously. It doesn't do squat.

3. I am a fan of hospitals. I'm in awe of nurses. Surgery gives me an excuse to go back and get loved on by those angels.

4. Reading magazines all the live-long day.

5. Wearing pajamas 24-7 for 5 days straight.

6. Watching SuperNathan juggle 3 kids, meals, bathtimes, a job, and me without losing his temper even for a second. Even when it takes Connor 2 hours to get his tubes in. Even when Connor has a blow out after his nap. Even when Reagan chews on the same piece of broccoli for 30 minutes. Even when I call him at work in a panic over a slug crawling up our wall.

7. Watching 72 straight hours of the Food Network.

8. The first meal that I can really eat after surgery. You know the one I'm talking about. The one where you can finish it without throwing up. It doesn't even matter what it is. It's delicious.

9. Hearing the doctors and nurses brag on my crazy low blood pressure (as if I had anything to do with it!). Sidenote: What's not fun is when they start making fun of me and saying things like, "Hello! Are you even alive?" HaHa. You guys are hoots.

10. Watching the doctor's face when I ask him if I can take home my gallbladder in a jar. (The answer was "no", by the way. Bummer.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Couch Family

Happy 8 Year Anniversary to this sweet couple!

Heather and Kevin have such a beautiful family. Harlan is 3. Katie Hays is 2. And........

Evie will be here on Monday!
Please pray for that sweet baby in Heather's belly. Evie has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and will have open-heart surgery a couple of days after her birth. Heather will deliver Evie at MUSC in Charleston. In the short-term, please pray for Evie to remain strong through the surgery and for the surgeons to do their absolute best. Pray for a quick recovery for Heather. Pray for Kevin as he supports and leads his family. Pray for Harlan and Katie Hays as they endure lots of changes.
In the long-term, please pray that Evie will be healthy. Pray that the surgeries she will have in the next few years go smoothly and that their are no additional complications.

We love you, Couch Family! We can't wait to meet your newest addition!